"The Deposition" is the 12th episode of the fourth season of The Office and the 65th overall. It was written by Lester Lewis and directed by Julian Farino. It first aired November 15, 2007. It was viewed by 8.86 million people.

Cold open

Michael demonstrates how he impresses people by having Pam give him fake messages telling him there's a call for him so he can say he'll call back later no matter how important the call or caller may be. On one occasion, Ryan is visiting, and Pam brings the usual fake message. Michael initially passes it up, but Ryan insists that customer service is the first priority and has Michael take the call, which requires Michael to do a surprise bit of improv.

Synopsis

Jan and Michael drive to the corporate office in New York City to do a deposition for Jan's lawsuit over her dismissal. They rehearse Michael's testimony in the car, and he makes up absurd mnemonic devices so he won't forget what to say. He has also memorized Jan's answers and plans to throw in some "errs" and "ahhs" for the deposition to appear not so scripted.

Meanwhile, back at the warehouse, Darryl is wiping Jim out in a table tennis game while Pam and Kelly watch. Kelly goes all trash talk on Pam, about how Pam's boyfriend "sucks" at ping pong, but Kelly calls it "talking smack." Pam gets ticked off and sets up a practice ping pong table in the conference room so she can get back at Kelly by way of Jim beating Darryl. She gets Kevin and then Dwight as "sparring partners" for Jim, but Dwight easily defeats Jim. Dwight reveals for the first time that he is a huge lifelong table tennis fan, and he reels off the names of immortals of the sport whom he idolizes. When the match finally comes, Jim has improved, but every time Darryl scores a point, Kelly verbally assaults his and Pam's ego. Finally, Pam has enough and challenges Kelly to a match. Both seem to be horrid at table tennis and aren't even able to bop the balls over the net. After a few rounds of this, Jim and Darryl are bored and traipse upstairs for the conference room ping-pong table.

At corporate, Michael is (maybe) all set to support Jan during the deposition hearing, but Ryan then takes him aside and urges him to do the right thing and not hurt Dunder Mifflin. Michael agrees and then is left with a terrible conflict. Michael's testimony starts well when he mentions the inappropriate way corporate handled Jan's situation, but his comments about her drinking and about apparent conflicts in statements he made about the nature of their relationship and when it started to cause problems.

When he finds out that Jan has stolen his diary in order to prove the timeline of their relationship, Michael is extremely upset. Jan points out that he emailed a topless photo of her to the entire company, and though they agree that fair is fair, their "Love you" remarks are a bit cold. Toby tries to comfort Michael in the lunchroom, but Michael instead trashes Toby's lunch tray and leaves.

Then, to add insult to injury for the second segment of the deposition, Dunder Mifflin's attorney reveals to Michael that Jan gave him a scathing performance review after they had begun dating. In it, she argued that Michael is an unmanageable employee and unfit for his position as branch manager, and should be demoted.

In a last-ditch attempt to win Michael back to her side, Jan has her lawyer read the deposition of David Wallace. From it, Michael, who always felt that he was a front-runner for the job at Corporate, learns that Wallace reluctantly admitted that, while Michael is a nice guy, he was never a serious contender for the job.

But David has shown more consideration to Michael than Jan so, when asked if he believes Dunder Mifflin really showed a pattern of mistreatment to Jan, Michael declares that it did not. He does not hold David's words against him, stating "You expect to get screwed by your company. But you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend."

Michael and Jan drive home, clearly angry at each other. Jan suggests they pick up some Chinese food. Michael states he'd prefer something cheap, and Jan replies that Chinese is cheap. They agree to fast food.

Deleted Scenes

  • Michael buys panty liners to put under his armpits.
  • Kelly talking head about how white people/black people talk trash.
  • Jan talking head about Michael's deposition and Michael makes an opening statement.
  • Michael imitates Borat.
  • Kelly talks more trash, so Pam makes Jim practice. Jim plays against other office members.
  • Michael changes the panty liners.

Goofs

Trivia

  • Michael returned David Wallace's compliment of him being a nice man, despite him stating that he did not consider Michael for the corporate job. This shows that Michael's desire to be seen as a nice person is more than his desire to be seen as a competent employee.
  • Jan and Michael drive to New York City in Michael's new PT Cruiser, first seen in "Local Ad".
  • This is the first known case of Mose having left Schrute Farms. In "Office Olympics", Michael claims that Mose had never left the farm.
  • This episode marks a change in Kelly's style. She wears a brightly colored wrap dress here and in several subsequent episodes, which is a bit of a stylistic change from her earlier outfits.
  • When Dwight recites the names of professional table tennis players, a white square is visible in the reflection of his glasses. This is the reflection of a cue card from which Rainn Wilson is reading the names.[1]
  • While it is revealed David Wallace never intended to promote Michael, he also did not criticize him nor did he want Michael demoted. Jan however did both of those things in her review of Michael.
  • The 11 copies of Michael's diary the judge orders are excessive, with at least 1 copy unaccounted for. The copies went to:
  1. The Judge
  2. Jan
  3. Lester Schnider
  4. Diane Kelly
  5. Toby
  6. Ryan
  7. Troy
  8. Ryan's other unamed lackey
  9. David Wallace (presumably)

It is unknown where the other copies went or if they were given to anyone else.

Amusing details

  • Jan has all the air-conditioning vents pointed at Michael instead of her, possibly in an effort to preserve her hairstyle.
  • In all of Kelly's smack talk to Pam they are wearing the same outfits, meaning they all occurred that same day.
  • Oscar and Angela are visibly confused that Jim asked for Kevin's help with balancing the traveller's check.
  • The talking head interviews are conducted in the annex because the conference room is being used for ping pong.
  • Ryan's lackeys dress and groom themselves like him. Writer Lester Lewis intended this to be a running joke, that Ryan surrounds himself with people who look like him, but are shorter.[1]
  • When Michael is asked how long he has known the plaintiff (referring to Jan, the plaintiff in the lawsuit), he believes that The Plaintiff is a legal thriller movie, comparing it to The Firm and The Pelican Brief.
  • Michael says "predominant" instead of "predetermined".
  • Michael misinterprets the word "ambivalent" for some other word.
  • When Michael reveals the document that Jan and Michael had to provide to H.R. disclosing their relationship, it is in a frame. In "Cocktails", Michael said he wanted to frame it.
  • Glenn and Hiro were betting on Jim and Darryl's match. After Darryl scores against Jim, Glenn smacks his hand frustrated. He then hands Hiro a bill in the background as Kelly skips over to Pam.
  • Michael and David Wallace are wearing similarly colored shirts and ties.

Behind the scenes

  • The episode was intended to have a side plot with the description "Dwight gets stuck in a wall," but the writers abandoned the idea because they couldn't get it to work.[1]
  • The Hiya buddy! drawing was sketched freehand by producer Greg Daniels. The crew then had to try several times to reproduce the drawing on a Post-It note.[1] The original drawing can be seen in the introductory video to the Writer's Block on the Season 4 DVD: Look on the whiteboard behind Mindy Kaling when she throws the football. Greg Daniels' artistic talent also appeared in the episode "The Client."
  • The cafeteria scene was filmed at the Universal Studios commissary.[2]:48:28
  • In the script, Michael lambastes Toby in the cafeteria. Reports differ as to how the version with Michael silently pushing Toby's tray off the table came to be. Paul Lieberstein describes it as a "genius improvisation".[3] Lester Lewis says that it was Paul Lieberstein's idea to have Michael push Toby's tray off the table and walk away.[1] Michael Schur concurs and adds that was the final take of the scene.[4]
  • The Robert Mifflin memorial conference room is just the Corporate reception area set with different wall paneling and furniture.[1]
  • The ping-pong plot was inspired by the writers, who played ping-pong on a makeshift table before upgrading to a real ping-pong table.[2]:24:25
  • With one exception (noted below), the actors were really playing ping-pong. This made the scenes extremely difficult to shoot because the sound and visuals of the bouncing ball made continuity nearly impossible.[1] To work around the problem, the camera would sometimes zoom a little closer on Jenna Fischer and Mindy Kaling so the other actors could simply mime playing ping-pong.[2]:22:31
  • John Krasinski is fairly good at table tennis and pretended not to be very good. Jenna Fischer is not particularly bad at table tennis but pretended to be inept.[2]:1:00:11
  • The actors played ping pong while waiting for the crew to set up the next scene.[2]:1:00:50
  • The drive home after the disastrous deposition was intended to be filmed on lipstick cameras, but the lighting in the car failed and all the footage was too dark. The only footage they had was from the car driving in front of them.[1][2]:1:03:05
  • For the final scene, Rainn Wilson and Michael Schur merely mimed playing ping pong, and the ball and sound effects were added later. In some takes, they dove wildly for the ball.[4]
  • This was the last episode filmed before the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike.

Cultural References

Quotes

see The Deposition Quotes

Cast

Main Cast

Supporting Cast

Recurring Cast

Guest Cast

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Season 4 DVD commentary for The Deposition.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Kinsey, Angela and Jenna Fischer. Episode 68: The Deposition. "Office Ladies" podcast, March 10, 2021.
  3. Lieberstein, Paul. TikTok video.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Scrum, Podcast XIX: Michael Schur


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